Warning: This review contains spoiler for the ending of the series
Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, Sage, rosemary and thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine
That classic English song is what brought me to know an anime series with the longest title that I might ever see in my life: Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasuka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka? (What are You Doing at the End of the World? Are You Busy? Will You Save Us?). Despite having a title that long, though, you won’t know what kind of story is being told in it unless you watch it yourself. The title above -which seems to be a little joking- has no relation with the storyline, although it is also possible that I’m just not smart enough to understand what Akira Kareno -the writer- thinks.
Looking at the cover of the light novel version, it can be guessed how the story would go: pathetic. The main character -who wields a sword as tall as her body- is crying on the front cover. Though personally I hate the kind of stories like the one where a violin player died at the end of the story because of a cardiac disease or where the main heroine died because of being hit by a truck, I decided to give this title a try after watching the first trailer video, which features the song above, and then the second trailer with a very eminent song by Tamaru Yamada.
The Story of the Arsenal Officer
Once upon a story, mankind had been erased from the Earth’s surface. What was left were other races such as demi humans, who lived in floating islands above the sky, taking refuge from the menace of beasts that might attack them at any time. Only the young ladies called Leprechauns are strong enough to beat the beasts, because they posses a power to use Dug Weapons that are powerful enough to kill the beasts.
Then came a middle-aged man named Willem Kmetsch, the only human who survived the apocalypse on the Earth’s surface by getting trapped in an iceberg for five hundred years. In a talk one night, he accepted an offer from his friend named Grick Graycrack to work as an army officer in the so-called “arsenal”. Although he refused at first, with a persuasion from Grick, he eventually accepted it. As it turned out, the place called “arsenal” is actually a house filled with a lot of children under the care of Mother Nygglatho, a wise-hearted troll but also a “blood thirsty” one. There, he met again with a girl named Chtolly Nota Seniorius, whom several days before had been saved by him in a certain downtown road.
The story here is focused on the relationship between Willem and Chtolly, which began with a mutual like, to the event when they decided to seal a promise until death parted them. I admit that their love story is interesting to watch, and maybe most of the viewers will focus on their relationship. But aside from the love story, there are also other characters who might draw viewers’ interest with their respective characteristics, such as Mother Nygglatho who takes care for the “weapon” kids every day, or the Chtolly’s comrades wth their assortment of difficult-to-pronounce names: Nephren Ruq Insania, Nopht Keh Desperatio, Ithea Myse Valgulious, and Rhantolk Ytri Historia.
However, what I remember the most, especially after watching the first part and the last part of this anime, is instead, death.
What are You Doing at the End of the World?
The Leprechauns are actually fairies who reincarnated from a human in the past life. But, the memories of that human is sealed as they were born into the world. The memories will start to awake gradually into their minds, until the point where Leprechauns will be fully overcome by the past memories, at which point, they will die, which usually occured around the age of high schoolers. It appears quite close to the Sakarat al-Mawt, or the agony of death in Islamic teaching.
This was when I started to brood a bit. The Leprechauns fully understand the short nature of their lifespan. They are also aware that their life in the world, without doubt, are just for the sake of becoming weapons for the Army, used to kill the beasts on the Earth’s surface. This doesn’t mean that they were being forced by the Army, but this was the only way that could be used to fight against those monsters, and they were fully aware of that duty. And that’s not counting Mother Nygglatho who, not only has the duty to take care of the children, but also needs to become strong enough to let go of her beloved girls to the battlefield with the risk of death. This is surely painful.
Fortunately, Leprechauns have strong heart: they still try to live as if the world will exist forever. Chtolly always love Willem until the end of their lives. And the same also goes for Nephren, Nopht, and Rhantolk who, in the last part of this series, bravely fought an all-out war in order to save the troops that tried to take refuge (although Nopht and Rhantolk survived at the end).
For me, as a moslem, their way of life is worth to follow: make the fullest of life in this world for a better life in the Hereafter. We may not live forever, and death will soon find us any time, but this world is a place to make our best before it happens. With that, life will become more meaningful, in the time when we’re still alive, or after we have met our death.
Then, when I read the lyrics of a song that that Tamaru Yamada sung in the last part of the anime:
I don’t know the meaning of life,
but I know what’s truly precious,
the life, its not, for comparing things
so I hold both the light, and shadows
I was reminded of a verse in the Quran, Ali Imran: 185, that is translated in English as:
“Every soul will taste death.…”
Facts and Figures
|Alternative Title||What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?|
|Original Source||Light novel by Akira Kareno (story) and ue (art)|
|Casts||Azusa Tadokoro as Chtholly-Nota-Seniorious
Ryohei Arai as Willem Kmetsch
Akane Kohinata as Almita
Akari Uehara as Nephren-Ruq-Insania
Hina Kino as Collon
Honoka Inoue as Phyracorlybia-Dorio
Inori Minase as Nopht-Keh-Ignareo
Juurouta Kosugi as Limeskin
Kazusa Aranami as Rhantolk-Ytri-Historia
Kikuko Inoue as Nygglatho
Machico as Ithea-Myse-Valgulious
Manaka Ishimi as Lakhesh
Mugihito as Souwong-Kandel
Rina Satou as Lillia-Asplay
Satomi Satou as Almaria-Duffner
Shigeru Chiba as Grick-Graycrack
Tomomi Mizuma as Tiat
Yurika Kubo as Pannibal
|Director||Junichi Wada (The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan and Ragnastrike Angels)|
|Script Writer||Akira Kareno and Mariko Mochizuki (Aquarion Logos)|
|Character Design||Touru Imanishi (Ragnastrike Angels)|
|Opening Theme||“DEAREST DROP” by Azusa Tadakoro|
|Closing Theme||“From” by TRUE|
|Studio||C2C and Satelight|
|Broadcast Date||April 11 2017 (1430 GMT, 2130 WIB, 2330 JST)|
The Indonesian Anime Times | By M Razif Dwi Kurniawan